Posts Tagged ‘Choc Lit’

An Afternoon at Ystrad Mynach Library

Chris, Evonne and me

Chris, Evonne and me

Travelling through the Welsh valleys on a beautiful autumn day is amazing and yesterday I had a great excuse for doing just that – I was heading for Ystrad Mynach in South Wales to do a library talk together with my fellow Choc Lit authors Chris Stovell and Evonne Wareham.

Ystad Mynach library has recently been refurbished and it was looking fab!  Just the sort of place I love to go to browse the shelves and find reading gems.  We were given a very warm welcome by the lovely librarians (including one from another nearby library) and then joined by the audience who had come to hear us talk about “Heroes, Heroines and Happy Endings”.

Chris in sailing gear

Chris in sailing gear

It all felt very informal, like chatting to friends, and we covered all sorts of topics/questions.  Among other things we talked about our research and Chris demonstrated why trying to write a romantic scene with your hero and heroine wearing sailing gear and life jackets might not be such a good idea!  Not impossible, but certainly not easy.

We all write different sub-genres, different heroes, and our opinions on happy endings were similar but not quite the same, but the main ingredient is of course the romance and being left feeling upbeat and positive after reading – we all agreed on that.

All in all, we had a wonderful afternoon and hope to go back again soon – thank you so much to the staff and everyone who came to our talk!

(PS. Many thanks to Alex for allowing me to use her photos in this blog post!)

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The lovely Ystrad Mynach librarians

The lovely Ystrad Mynach librarians

Librarian Helen from nearby Oakdale library

Librarian Helen from nearby Oakdale library

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RoNAs 2016

Lesley Field, Jane Jackson, Iona Grey and I

Jane Jackson, Lesley Field, Iona Grey and I

Had a lovely time at the RoNA Awards Event last night even though The Secret Kiss of Darkness didn’t win – huge congratulations to Iona Grey who won both our category and the overall prize of Romantic Novel of the Year!

As always, it was wonderful to be at the Gladstone Library, the perfect venue for any literary event, and it was fun to catch up with friends and fellow ChocLiphoto(6)teers, one of whom won the Contemporary category – congrats to Melanie Hudson!

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Fern Britton and compere Jane Wenham-Jones

The prizes were presented by TV personality and author Fern Britton and I really enjoyed all the thank you speeches, in particular those given by the two Outstanding Achievement Award winners, Claire Lorrimer and Anita Burgh.  They were both very amusing and were given a standing ovation by the audience – fab!

I’m sure there will be official photos soon, but here are some of mine!

Me with fellow ChocLiteers Melanie Hudson, Alison May, Linn Halton and Angela Britnell

Me with fellow ChocLiteers Melanie Hudson, Alison May, Linn Halton and Angela Britnell

The Gladstone Library

The Gladstone Library

The beautiful table decorations

The beautiful table decorations

The Jade Lioness – out now!

TJL medium frontToday is paperback publication day for The Jade Lioness – I’m so pleased the third book in the trilogy is available at last!  I always like complete sets of a series on my book shelves 🙂

In order to celebrate there is a competition over on the Choc Lit blog (Choc Lit Corner) where you can win these lovely jade items plus a signed copy of the book.  Just head over there and leave a comment and you could be in with a chance!

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Meanwhile, here is the blurb:-

Can an impossible love become possible?

Nagasaki, 1648

Temperance Marston longs to escape war-torn England and explore the exotic empire of Japan. When offered the chance to accompany her cousin and Captain Noordholt on a trading expedition to Nagasaki, she jumps at the opportunity.  However, she soon finds the country’s strict laws for foreigners curtail her freedom.

On a dangerous and foolhardy venture she meets Kazuo, a ronin. Kazuo is fascinated by her blonde hair and blue eyes, but he has a mission to complete and he cannot be distracted. Long ago, his father was accused of a crime he didn’t commit – stealing a valuable jade lioness ornament from the Shogun – and Kazuo must restore his family’s honour.

But when Temperance is kidnapped and sold as a concubine, he has to make a decision – can he save her and keep the promise he made to his father?

Buy links:-

Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jade-Lioness-Kumashiro-Christina-Courtenay/dp/1781892377/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1444222646&sr=1-1

Amazon US http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1781892377?keywords=The%20jade%20lioness&qid=1444222741&ref_=sr_1_1_twi_pap_2&sr=8-1

‘Please Release Me’ – coming unstuck!

PLEASE RELEASE ME_high res miniIn honour of the publication of my friend Rhoda Baxter’s new novel Please Release Me (happy publication day, Rhoda!!), I’m blogging today on the theme of ‘being stuck’, because all the main characters in that book are stuck in some way.

I guess we all feel stuck sometimes – mostly in the daily “rut” when life can feel like it’s Groundhog Day and very tedious. This is especially the case for an author when working on a book as every day is more or less the same. Even weekends in my case – being self-employed you don’t have the nine-to-five restraints and you just work until it’s finished. I don’t really mind, but it always feels a bit weird when friends say “thank goodness it’s the weekend” as that’s meaningless to me!

The thing I’m stuck on now though is a bit more specific and – predictably – it’s the plot of my next story, a YA fantasy. I need to make it darker and more frightening, but at the same time more believable. Not an easy task!

I’ve found that there are two types of story: those that come fully formed into your mind and just flow onto the page without any trouble, and those that seem like a good idea when you start writing them but turn into a real battle to finish. My current WIP – provisionally titled Dare to Defy – was, I thought, of the first variety, but on further inspection is turning into the second category. Bother!

That means revisions, rethinks and actually having to write a proper outline (something I usually try to avoid, being the kind of writer who just sits down and writes normally), but I’ll just have to get on with it and hope that I’m soon un-stuck 🙂

Blurb for Please Release Me:-

What if you could only watch as your bright future slipped away from you?

Sally Cummings has had it tougher than most but, if nothing else, it’s taught her to grab o

pportunity with both hands. And, when she stands looking into the eyes of her new husband Peter on her perfect wedding day, it seems her life is finally on the up.

That is until the car crash that puts her in a coma and throws her entire future into question.

In the following months, a small part of Sally’s consciousness begins to return, allowing her to listen in on the world around her – although she has no way to communicate.

But Sally was never going to let a little thing like a coma get in the way of her happily ever after …

Buy link: myBook.to/PleaseReleaseMe

 

Happy 6th Birthday to Choc Lit!

JordgubbstartaJust wanted to wish Choc Lit a very Happy 6th Birthday today!  So many lovely books during that time and I’m very privileged to be part of the Choc Lit “family” 🙂  I think I shall have to make one of these Swedish strawberry cream cakes to help celebrate the occasion.  Here’s to many more birthdays to come!

PS.  If you haven’t seen it already, there’s a special “round robin” birthday story on the Choc Lit blog – check it out (here)!

THE JADE LIONESS

TJL medium frontTomorrow is e-book publication day for my new novel The Jade Lioness.  It’s set in 17th century Japan and is the third and final book in my Japanese trilogy.  The story features Temperance Marston, cousin of Midori Kumashiro who was the heroine of The Gilded Fan (book 2).  Here’s what happens:-

Can an impossible love become possible?

Nagasaki, 1648

Temperance Marston longs to escape war-torn England and explore the exotic empire of Japan. When offered the chance to accompany her cousin and Captain Noordholt on a trading expedition to Nagasaki, she jumps at the opportunity.  However, she soon finds the country’s strict laws for foreigners curtail her freedom.

On a dangerous and foolhardy venture she meets Kazuo, a ronin. Kazuo is fascinated by her blonde hair and blue eyes, but he has a mission to complete and he cannot be distracted. Long ago, his father was accused of a crime he didn’t commit – stealing a valuable jade lioness ornament from the Shogun – and Kazuo must restore his family’s honour.

But when Temperance is kidnapped and sold as a concubine, he has to make a decision – can he save her and keep the promise he made to his father?

From tomorrow onwards some of my author friends will be helping me to celebrate the release of The Jade Lioness by telling us about their favourite exotic travel destinations – watch this space!

Cover Reveal – The Jade Lioness

TJL_FINALAt last I can share the beautiful cover of my next novel – The Jade Lioness!  It is the third book in my Japanese trilogy, the Kumashiro series, and features Temperance Marston, an English girl who fulfills her dream of going to Japan.  Unfortunately, things don’t quite go to plan though …

Here’s the blurb:-

Can an impossible love become possible?

Nagasaki, 1648

Temperance Marston longs to escape war-torn England and explore the exotic empire of Japan. When offered the chance to accompany her cousin and Captain Noordholt on a trading expedition to Nagasaki, she jumps at the opportunity.  However, she soon finds the country’s strict laws for foreigners curtail her freedom.

On a dangerous and foolhardy venture she meets Kazuo, a ronin. Kazuo is fascinated by her blonde hair and blue eyes, but he has a mission to complete and he cannot be distracted. Long ago, his father was accused of a crime he didn’t commit – stealing a valuable jade lioness ornament from the Shogun – and Kazuo must restore his family’s honour.

But when Temperance is kidnapped and sold as a concubine, he has to make a decision – can he save her and keep the promise he made to his father?

(It’s available for pre-order from Kindle now – published by Choc Lit 15th May 2015)

Never Too Late and GOD JUL!

NEVER TOO LATE_Kindle 300dpiToday my fourth Regency novella, Never Too Late, is released on Kindle – a sort of early Christmas present for me and just in time to help me celebrate Swedish Christmas!  Here’s a little bit about it:-

Can true love be rekindled?

Maude is devastated when the interference of her strict father prevents her from eloping with Luke Hexham. It is not long before she is married off to Edward, Luke’s cousin – a good match in her father’s eyes but an abhorrent one to his daughter.

Eight years later, Edward is dead. Maude, now Lady Hexham, is appalled to find his entire estate is to go to Luke – the man she still loves – with no provision for either herself or her young daughter.

Luke has never forgotten Maude’s apparent betrayal, but he has the means to help her. Maude doesn’t want his charity, but agrees to stay as his paid housekeeper.

Soon Maude and Luke realise that perhaps it is never too late for true love. But, even after eight years, there is still somebody who would stop at nothing to keep them apart …

RegencyCollectionAnother lovely surprise is that my other three Regency novellas – Marry in Haste, Once Bitten Twice Shy and Desperate Remedies – put together as a collection, are currently #1 in the Amazon UK Regency Kindle chart!  I think I’d better go and celebrate with some chocolate … God Jul everyone, I hope you’re having a great day too!

 

London Book Fair 2014

Last week was the London Book Fair – for the last time at the Earl’s Court venue as they are moving to Olympia next year.  As always, it was busy and buzzing, filled with publishers, agents and providers of anything and everything to the book trade – fascinating!

The Choc Lit stand was a vision in fuchsia pink this year and really stood out – I loved it!  Seeing the shelves stacked with Choc Lit titles, all written by my friends the lovely “ChocLiteers”, was a joy, and lots of people stopped by to have a look and a chat, and of course to sample the chocolates on offer.  (Yes, I had my fair share, possibly a few too many …)

The Book Fair isn’t really aimed specifically at authors as such, but there are still lots of things of interest, not least the many varied talks, some of which I attended.  Really enjoyed listening to Katie Fforde, Manda Scott and Jo Fletcher discuss genre fiction for example.  Wandering along the many aisles you come across all manner of sights and my favourite this year was the virtual fish pond with koi fish swimming leisurely.  If you stepped on it, the water rippled – magic!

The best thing for me though is just being surrounded by books on all sides, that’s pure bliss!

Korea was the featured country this year

The "koi pond"

Me with Alison Morton and Sue Moorcroft

Strange sofa!

The Gilded Fan is a Winner!

This year’s RoNA’s (the RNA’s Romantic Novel Awards) took place in the gorgeous Gladstone Library at One Whitehall in London, and I think a good time was had by all!  The pink fizz was flowing, the canapés were delicious and the tables were covered in pink heart-shaped chocolates (my personal favourite, of course!).  As always, at an RNA gathering, the noise levels had to be heard to be believed.

There were lots of witty speeches (although probably not mine – can’t actually remember what I said), and I particularly enjoyed those of Milly Johnson, Dr David Hessayon and Helen Fielding.  The awards were presented by the lovely Darcey Bussell and it was a great pleasure to meet her.

For me, it was an extra special evening as The Gilded Fan won the Historical category, despite being shortlisted together with amazing authors Liz Harris, Charlotte Betts, Carol McGrath, Annie Murray and Joanna Hickson.  I was so thrilled the readers had chosen my story – huge thanks to them, whoever they are!  (Readers for the award are anonymous)  And of course, a massive thank you to the wonderful Choc Lit team who believed in this story and published the book!

The RNA’s press release can be found here.

With Darcey Bussell

With Dr David Hessayon

All the RoNA winners with Ms Bussell

Presenting flowers to the lovely Katie Fforde